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God-Free Inside this issue

Press
Problem with Atheism .....1
Member Spotlight .............1
Local News .........................2

Vol 1, Issue 3 August 2009 Skeptical Eye .....................3

The Problem With Atheism


by Rob Miller, CAA Secretary

The word “atheist” has two major flaws. It 2007 AAI convention in which he called for
says nothing about what you do believe and, non believers to stop using the word
even worse, is erroneously perceived as a “atheist” or any other label. According to
worldview that denies more than just god, him, “the concept of atheism imposes upon
but morality as well. For anyone willing to us a false burden of remaining fixated on
join an atheist group, “I’m an atheist” is the people’s beliefs about god…” By appearing
The so-called “Eye of God” nebula, likely answer to “do you believe in god?” to unite against belief in god, we are, to any
correctly known as the Helix Nebula, or But why should it begin and end there? outside observer, uniting against believers.
NGC 7293, located in the constellation We’re a diverse group with diverse beliefs. Christians and other believers take this
Aquarius. The Helix Nebula is one of the Why dig a deeper hole to climb out of. Is personally.
closest and largest planetary nebulas the word itself really worth defending?
known. A planetary nebula consists of Even Richard Dawkins admits that “critical What church do you go to? We’ve all heard
gas and dust expelled from a star at the mass may be harder to achieve than with it. It’s a common question in this part of the
end of its life. This photograph was made some non-confrontational euphemism…” Bible belt. To a believer, the church you go
by NASA’s Hubble telescope. to says far more about you than just belief in
If our mission is to put a positive face on god. There are numerous religions, and
atheism, or to be more exact, change within Christianity, numerous churches,
Upcoming CAA Group Events people’s perception of what it means to not both conservative and liberal. A person who
Aug 13: Social Dinner, 7pm believe in the supernatural, then leading attends a Pentecostal church will have very
(Dilworth N’hood Grill) with “atheist” makes that goal harder to different beliefs than someone who attends a
achieve. Sam Harris gave a speech at the
Aug 20: New Member Gathering,
5pm (Dilworth N’hood Grill) continued on next page

Aug 22: Service Project, 10am


(Allenbrook Elementary School)
Member Spotlight: Fernando & Freida Flores
Aug 26: Planning Meeting, 7pm For our third edition of the Member became a non-believer before me.
(Dilworth N’hood Grill) Spotlight column, we’re taking a break from
meeting our group officers and instead are Q. Were you religious before that/what
Sept 13: Group Picnic, 11am
learning about some newer members. Say religion?
(Rush Pavilion at Leroy Springs)
hello to Freida and Fernando, who joined A. Fernando was raised in the Catholic
Oct 14: Richard Dawkins lecture CAA in May of this year. religion and I was raised a southern baptist.
(Queens College) Fernando wasn't forced to practice the
Q. How long have you been religion that strongly while he was growing
Please visit charlotteatheists.com atheist/agnostic? Did you twp share these up.
to confirm all event details. beleifs/nonbelief when you met, or change to
it after you were together? Q. What made you become an atheist?
A. Actually, when we met, neither of us was Actually, when we met, neither of us was an
an atheist! We have both been atheists for atheist! Over the years, we saw how
Feeback? Suggestions? Vitriol? about four years now. Fernando actually
continued on page four
Email: CAAeditor@gmail.com
Page 2 CAA God-Free Press August 2009

The Problem with Atheism (continued from page 1)

non-denominational mega church. Why lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to


Atheist Quotes of should it be any different with atheists? the greater good of humanity.”
the Month
When asked, I usually tell people I don’t Whether I call myself a humanist, naturalist,
“How on earth can believe in god without attaching a label to it. bright, freethinker or something else isn’t
I avoid atheist, agnostic, humanist, or important, but being more than just an
religious people atheist is. I’m not suggesting that we deny
anything else. I prefer to engage in further
believe in so much conversation before allowing myself to be what we are, nor do I expect everyone to
arbitrary, clearly prejudged. While I do try to avoid labels agree with me. If there is one thing we
invented balderdash?” when the subject first comes up, for the most atheists value above all else, it’s
part I consider myself a humanist. I agree independent thinking. I am suggesting that
--Kurt Vonnegut we need to be cautious in our approach, and
with its basic tenets, but it isn’t dogmatic.
Other self proclaimed humanists include based on the direction CAA has taken over
Richard Dawkins, James Randi, Eugenie the last few months, I think most agree with
“Atheism is nothing Scott, Michael Shermer, Oliver Stone, Kurt me on this point, though we may have
Vonnegut, E. O. Wilson, and many others. varied reasons for doing so. As long as we
more than the sounds are perceived as only atheists, we will have
The Humanist Manifesto states that
people make when in “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of a difficult time convincing non believers that
the presence of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms we are anything more than anti-religious.
unjustified dogma. It's our ability and responsibility to lead ethical
just reason in action.”
--Sam Harris Local News of Interest (and hilarity)
By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter forgiven."
Posted: Sun, Jul. 19 2009
“I give money for Elevation Church believes abortion is a sin,
Elevation Church pastor Steven [is] diving
church organs in the in to talk about what many churches aren't.
marriage is between a man and a woman,
hope the organ music any sexual activity outside of marriage
Titled "Cow Tipping," the new series kicked between a wife and husband is a sin and
will distract the off last weekend at the Charlotte, N.C., divorce is a sin.
congregation's church
"The primary problem with sexual sin isn't
attention from the rest "I want us to be the kind [of church] that the sexually transmitted diseases or
of the service.” will confront anything with the light of the emotional scars," he noted. "The real
--Andrew Carnegie word of God," Furtick told thousands of problem is that when we live outside of
attendees at the fast-growing megachurch. God's established parameters for our lives
The church, he says, has many "sacred we preach a false Gospel.
cows" – things the church doesn't like
“What is it about faith talking about. "We will not sacrifice truth." "We say that we know Him but we live as if
that makes people He does not exist."
Furtick began the series last Sunday with the
eager to commit issue of sexual sin – including divorce, Calling out the Christians, Furtick urged, "If
suicide so long as it abortion, sexual orientation, cohabitation, you're naming the name of Christ and
and friends with benefits. His motive was continually rejecting his standards for the
enables them to not to deliver a sermon explaining the sake of your own pleasure, judge yourself
commit mass murder various sexual sins, as he has already done today and repent."
while they're at it?” that in the past, but to convey a larger point
– hypocrisy. Once Christians begin to follow God's
--Larry Beinhart standards and get better at preserving their
"We (the church) have gotten really good at own marriages, then the rest of the world
... cultural condemnation but not as good at will more likely be ready to hear what
personal repentance," the 29-year-old pastor Christians have to say about the laws passed
said last weekend. "We must pass judgment in this country. Moreover, the church will
Favorite quote you’d like on sin but we need to start with ourselves ... have more credibility and validity, Furtick
to see in the newsletter? not with groups of people and marginalizing added.
CAAeditor@gmail.com them so that they don't even want to hear the
message of Christ that we have to offer," he "Don't play the game," he said. "If you're
emphasized. "I want to call your to a higher struggling with sexual sin, your real problem
standard ... a standard of one who's been is a deficiency of Jesus."
CAA God-Free Press August 2009 Page 3

The Skeptical Eye


by William Warren, CAA Member Atheist Bulletin Board
I look forward to taking a vacation all year long. The excitement of visiting an old city, full of beautiful
architecture and historic houses, is always palpable. However, there is a sinister side to these wonderful Belcher Home
places; a high level of quackery that is better, and more fun, to call “woo”. I knew that my trip to
Charleston would not disappoint in this department as the general level of insanity around old southern
Repair Services
cities is fairly high. 704-361-4365
Charleston is an exceptionally beautiful city. Beautiful and humid. Perhaps the humidity is what zack.belcher34@gmail.com
leads the people to go slightly insane. Aside from the beauty and humidity, there are a horrifying number Free quotee for any home
of ghost stories and new age medicine gimmicks to be found. Walking around the city, I found the usual repair big or small.
run-of-the-mill superstitions: ghost tours, haunted graveyards, a spooky aircraft carrier, and one voodoo
tour that promised to freak you out all for the low, low price of $25.00. I figured that my money would
have been better spent on wishing wells or a donation to the church. Jay N. Cohen
After walking through the market for a bit, the right pseudo-science that I had been looking for Graphic Design
was staring me in the face. It made me angrier than I thought it would have. The culprit: magnetic phone/fax 704.307.2811
therapy jewelry. The claims of magnetic jewelry are many: increased circulation, arthritis relief, and at cell 704.497.7706
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supposed interaction that we will be focusing our skeptical eye on, as the other claims are too fantastical
www.jaycohendesign.com
to warrant more than a mention.
Let us suspend our belief for a moment and suppose that magnets do, in fact, interact with the
iron in our blood. With this in mind, suppose your doctor orders and MRI for you. Imagine what would CAA member Liz Richey
happen to you during the MRI, knowing that an MRI utilizes a large electromagnet. To give you a better seeks another member with
idea of what would happen, a little background about magnets: Magnetism is measured in gauss and experience working on wells
Teslas. One Tesla is equal to 10,000 gauss. Boring, I know, but necessary to understand why the claims for potential project. If you
of magnetic therapy are wrong. An MRI puts out between 1 – 1.5 Teslas during high operation. That is can help, contact her directly at
10,000 – 15,000 gauss! The result of an MRI would be a hellacious scene from the mind of Clive Barker. welder2cook@hotmail.com
Your blood would be ripped from your body, sucked out of your eyes, nose, ears, even your pores. How
is that for a violent death? There is a reason you are told leave your keys outside of the MRI room.
By this point, you may be wondering why this doesn’t happen. It’s quite simple, really. The iron
in our blood is non-ferrous. If it were ferrous, we wouldn’t have TV’s, MRI machines, or even a
Promote yourself!
refrigerator. The fact that you can walk pass your TV without getting a blood boil should be proof
enough. So what’s the harm? It’s all just a bunch of crap anyway, who cares if someone wears a
magnetic bracelet? Here is the harm: people will actually forgo proven medical treatment for wishful Have a business,
thinking. I noticed that the magnetic therapy pamphlet said “trade in your pills for magnets!” You are service, talent, or
expected to give up proven medicine from a proven science for a refrigerator magnet. This pseudo- product, or looking to
science is making medical claims that have killed people. hire someone?
I implore you, dear readers; don’t listen to the “experts,” listen to the experts. Magnets are good This space is designated for
for a great many things, but curing cancer isn’t one of them. A whole suit of magnets won’t cure your YOU. When you buy from an
cancer. So the next time someone asks you “what’s the harm?” cite the scores of people that die from atheist, at least you know
trusting the fantastical over the medically proven. That is the harm.
you’re not paying a 10%
surcharge as a tithe to
someone’s church!
Whether you want to promote
your business, swap services
with another member, or just
give a shout-out to someone,
consider this a little bit of free
advertising, available to all
members of CAA.

Email CAAeditor@gmail.com
with the details for publication
in future issues.

Want to contribute an article


or other content to the
Newsletter? Email:
CAAeditor@gmail.com
Page 4 CAA God-Free Press August 2009

FLORES (continued from page 1)


I actually told the people that we weren't
New Member hypocritical the religious people are and we
into religion and that they were wasting
chose not to be involved in any type of
Sign-ups at religion. As time went by, even though we
their time. The finally quit coming. We
CAA Website were not completely out of the closet
were very happy to find CAA where the
are people with whom we can share
atheists, we started wondering why God
intelligent conversation; not fairy tales.
would let so many wrong things happen in
We're very happy to have found CAA.
July: 18 the world, two people are in a car accident,
one dies and the other lives. You hear the
June: 14 Q. What are your interests outside of
family of the living person thanking God for
atheism?
watching over their loved one; why wasn't
May: 22 the person that they call God watching over
A. We love the beaches and the mountains;
we also love to travel. We also love to go
April: 22 the person that died. Religious people are
to the symphony. I also write the
very selfish! After weighing all of these
March: 22 newsletter for our homeowner's
things (and a lot of other things), we decided
association.
that there must not be a God, and if there is,
we wanted no part of a God that was that
cruel. Children are scared into believing in
God and Satan. I remember when I was
little, when I would do something wrong,
my parents would tell me that the devil was
going to come and drag me out of bed. I
tried to be good, but on those "rare"
occasions when I wasn't, I went to bed
scared! I waited for lightning to strike me
when I finally admitted that I was an atheist.
Freida and Fernando
Q. What made you join CAA?
A. I told Fernando that I was going to do
some research on the internet to find out if
there was such a thing as an atheist group
Want to put the Atheist Spotlight on
K NOW ANY LOCAL ATHEISTS here in the Bible belt. When we first moved
someone in particular? Email:
W HO AREN ’ T CAA MEMBERS ? here, I think every church in Charlotte came CAAeditor@gmail.com
P LEASE FORW ARD THIS
NEW SLETTER TO THEM ( A ND
knocking on our door to invite us to church.
ENCOURAGE TH EM TO JOIN THE
GROUP AS W ELL !)

Charlotte Atheists & Agnostics Erik T, Editor


THE END
www.charlotteatheists.com CAAeditor@gmail.com

charlotteatheists@gmail.com Jan 1 2000 – Dozens of Christian cults predicted the turn


of the millennium would coincide with the Second
Coming of Christ and the end of the world. Concerns that
the Y2K computer bug would collapse computer systems
stoked an atmosphere of impending doom. But, as ever,
life went on as normal. Carlos Roa, the Argentine
goalkeeper who declined to negotiate a new contract at
his Spanish club because he was convinced the world
would end, returned later in the season.
(www.telegraph.co.uk)